Questions tagged [poetry]

This tag should be used on questions about poetry in general or about any specific poem. Please use this tag with the appropriate author tag, and, if applicable, the language tag (such as [french-literature].

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3
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2answers
140 views

Does translation take away from the meaning of verse and poetry?

I am currently reading The Heart of Haiku by Jane Hirshfield. In it, many examples of haikus translated from Japanese are given. However, in their English form, they lack the rhythm and meter of Haiku....
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2answers
205 views

What do these lines mean in Tennyson's poem “Northern Farmer - Old Style”?

What does But summun ’ull come ater meä mayhap wi’ ’is kittle o’ steam Huzzin’ an’ maäzin’ the blessed feälds wi’ the Divil’s oaän teäm. mean in modern English?
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1answer
260 views

Does anybody know who wrote this poem, or where it is from?

I saw a poem on my friend's desktop background on his laptop, and took a screenshot of it because I thought it was cool. In fact, it was a poem. Does anybody know who wrote it, or where it is from? ...
3
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1answer
323 views

Meaning of this line from “Birches”

I was reading "Birches" by Robert Frost. I am having difficulty in understanding the meaning of a line. Please refer to this link for the full poem: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/44260/...
3
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1answer
333 views

Difference between “Ode to” and “Ode on”?

We sometimes see Ode to and sometimes Ode on. Do these both mean a poem written about something? I am a new literature student.
3
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1answer
113 views

What is the metre of this poem by Emily Bronte?

I really like the following poem by E. Bronte: High waving heather 'neath stormy blasts bending, Midnight and moonlight and bright shining stars, Darkness and glory rejoicingly blending, ...
3
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1answer
559 views

What is the tone of “Spring” by Gerard Manley Hopkins?

Here is the poem "Spring" by Gerard Manley Hopkins: Nothing is so beautiful as Spring– When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush; Thrush’s eggs look little low ...
3
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1answer
130 views

How many Elizabethan or Jacobean manuscripts of Shakespeare sonnets have come down to us?

When Thomas Thorpe published Shake-speares Sonnets [sic!] in 1609, the sonnets (or at least a subset of them) had already circulated in manuscript for some time. Francis Meres already mentioned these ...
3
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1answer
186 views

Meaning of “I'm almost three-score” in “The Idiot Boy” by Wordsworth

From Wordsworth's The Idiot Boy: And now she's high upon the down, And she can see a mile of road, "Oh cruel! I'm almost three-score; Such night as this was ne'er before, There's not a ...
3
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1answer
411 views

Usage of the word “spheres” in “A Noiseless Patient Spider”

I do have an idea of what Whitman is telling in the last stanza and the whole poem but what confuses me is the usage of the word "spheres" in the second stanza of "A Noiseless Patient Spider". A ...
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1answer
125 views

Explain the third stanza of Donne's “A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning”?

This is the third stanza of John Donne's "A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning": Moving of th' earth brings harms and fears, Men reckon what it did, and meant; But trepidation of the spheres, ...
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1answer
59 views

A slightly different interpretation in the poem “Boat Stealing” by Wordsworth

I have recently annotated this poem and when looking online, I have found that my interpretation of the poem in some aspects is a bit different to most others. I just want to make sure that my ...
3
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1answer
1k views

Explain “If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you”

In Kipling's poem IF, there is this line: If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you To achieve that, it seems you would have to be so closed off, insulated, and emotionally barricaded that ...
3
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1answer
440 views

Who is the speaker in “The Unreturning”?

Wilfred Owen's poem "The Unreturning" (full text here) seems remarkably free of context - it never says explicitly what it's about, what's happening, which "dead" are being talked about, who or what ...
3
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1answer
37 views

What is the meaning of Brodsky’s saying in the context of Sagan & Schneider’s book “Into the Cool”?

I came across this paragraph while reading Into the Cool by Sagan and Schneider and I was intrigued by a reference to Joseph Brodsky’s poetry but I can’t seem to understand what it means exactly: ...
3
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1answer
80 views

Repetition of “smile” in Kamala Surayya's 'My Mother at Sixty-six'

In the poem 'My Mother at Sixty-six' by Kamala Surayya, the poet ends the "prose" saying all I did was smile and smile and smile.... There are various critical interpretations as to what does the ...
3
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1answer
341 views

In “Passing by” by Robert Herrick, how does Cupid “range her country” and change the narrator's heart?

I'm looking for an explanation of the first two lines of the third verse (see below) of the poem "Passing by" by Robert Herrick. I assume that "Cupid is winged" means that Cupid has wings, but what ...
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1answer
568 views

Who inspired Elizabeth Barrett Browning's poem “Mother and Poet”?

"Mother and Poet" is an emotional and moving poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning about a woman poet who loses both her sons in battles in Italy. The emotions seem so raw that one might assume it ...
3
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1answer
81 views

Meaning of “With Ismail's storm to soften it the more” in Byron's “Don Juan”

Canto 8, stanza 68, from Byron's Don Juan: So much for Nature: -- by way of variety, Now back to thy great joys, Civilisation! And the sweet consequence of large society, War, pestilence, ...
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1answer
834 views

What's the significance of the stanza about V for victory in Tony Harrison's V?

I'm working through the long poem "V" by Tony Harrison (available here). The narrator is describing the graffiti scrawled by football supporters, with "V" denoting "versus", as in "Leeds V [another ...
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1answer
886 views

Why do Simpson and Bostley speak for each other in “Lost Voices”?

I'm trying to learn more about spoken word poetry, and I stumbled upon Darius Simpson and Scout Bostley's "Lost Voices" (you can watch the performance online). One of the themes of the piece is the ...
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2answers
1k views

How is William Carlos Williams's affection expressed in “The Red Wheelbarrow”?

In the poem "The Red Wheelbarrow" by William Carlos Williams, there is no specific mention of any person. However, he wrote that the poem "sprang from affection" for an old man named Marshall, to ...
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1answer
58 views

Meaning of “tally” in Whitman's “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d”

From "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d" by Walt Whitman: To the tally of my soul, Loud and strong kept up the gray-brown bird, With pure deliberate notes spreading filling the night. ...
3
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1answer
103 views

What is the meter of the poem “Snow” by Louis MacNeice?

I'm struggling to find the meter in which the poem "Snow" is written. I know that Shakespeare's poetry was written in iambic pentameter. So far, I've read that the poem "Snow" has a rough meter, and ...
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1answer
958 views

What did Gray mean by “where ignorance is bliss,'tis folly to be wise”?

Here's the last stanza of Thomas Gray's 1742 poem, 'Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College': To each his suff'rings: all are men,       Condemn'd alike to groan, The tender for another's ...
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1answer
242 views

E E Cummings: [may i feel said he] What may parentheses signify?

In the poem [may i feel said he] by e.e. cummings, it is suggested to be a dialogue between a male and a female. My interpretation (an obvious one) is the dialogue spans for a period of time, and ...
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1answer
2k views

Meter and number of syllables per line in “The Raven”

After reading some analysis of "The Raven", I've become confused about how syllables are counted. For example, in the second line: Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore A few ...
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1answer
999 views

What does it mean to ask 'what is the subject of this poem'?

I read a poem called "Vigil Strange I ept on the field one night" by Walt Whitman (reproduced below). One question I was asked about this poem is 'what is the subject of this poem?' For my ...
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2answers
588 views

Is there any symbolism in Casey at the Bat?

Casey at the Bat is one of my all-time favorite poems. I always thought it was just about baseball. But is it? Is there a metaphor or an allegory hidden somewhere in the last inning of a baseball ...
3
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2answers
99 views

What does Wordsworth mean by “A pagan suckled in a creed outworn”?

I have two questions regarding this sonnet by William Wordsworth, first published in 1807: The world is too much with us; late and soon, Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers: Little we ...
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1answer
39 views

Are Lorca's “Gypsy Ballads” adapted from, or inspired by, traditional Romani songs?

Federico Garcia Lorca's Romancero Gitano, usually translated as Gypsy Ballads, is a collection of poems, about which Wikipedia says: All of the poems deal with the Romani people (gypsies) and their ...
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1answer
269 views

What's the implied meaning of this poem by Russell Edson?

My friends are discussing what's the implied meaning of this poem: Fire Is Not a Nice Guest Some people feel like it insinuates a futile effort to save people around. But I think this is not accurate. ...
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1answer
305 views

How is the Brother Officer being portrayed in “The Hero”?

Siegfried Sassoon's short poem "The Hero" (full text here) is about a young soldier who has died in the First World War, and describes the news of his death being given to his grieving mother. When I ...
3
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1answer
171 views

What do the night and day in “The Unreturning” symbolise?

I now understand the poem "The Unreturning" much better than I did when I asked this question, thanks to Peter's excellent answer and my reading through it several more times and more carefully. It's ...
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0answers
62 views

Help finding poem about a red tide coming in which mentions “memory”

I'm trying to find a poem. I thought it was a Mary Oliver poem, but I can't find it when searching the few words I know along with her name. The poem talks about a red tide coming in. There is a part ...
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0answers
49 views

'meter' vs. 'rhythm': How do their meanings in poetry differ from those in music?

'meter' and 'rhythm' are termed in poetry and music. So what are their parallels? Their differences? Source: Listening to Music (2013 7 ed, but ∃ 8 ed) by Yale Prof. Craig Wright: [p. 463] meter: ...
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1answer
203 views

Is poetry the art of giving different names to the same thing?

There was a poet who said this: Poetry is the art of giving different names to the same thing. They are copied all over the internet. But is this true? In the comments of that post @Randal'Thor ...
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0answers
136 views

Is there a name for version of trochaic tetrameter with lines of 8|7|8|7 syllables

Is there a name for the meter used in Clementine: Drove she ducklings to the water Every morning just at nine Struck her foot against a splinter Fell into the foaming brine or in Schiller's Ode to ...
3
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0answers
297 views

What does the six-legged dog in Charles Simic's poem “Country Fair” represent?

The poem "Country Fair" by Charles Simic centers around a dog with six legs. I'm sure the dog is supposed to symbolize something important that the speaker feels the presupposed audience is ...
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0answers
96 views

How did the text of “First They Came …” evolve?

I have read and heard people read many different versions of "First They Came ..." and according to the Wikipedia article, it was originally published in English by Milton Mayer. This led me to wonder ...
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2answers
1k views

Looking for an English-language poet whose name rhymes with Stowe and who lived in the time of Stevenson or earlier

My friend is composing a poem, and for a rhyme's sake she needs the name of an English-language poet whose name rhymes with Stowe and who lived in the times of R.L. Stevenson or earlier. I came up ...
2
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1answer
316 views

Meaning of Rumi's quote “Lo, for I to myself am unknown, now in God's name what must I do?”

I really like this quote but didn't get its correct meaning. My deduction is - One is asking God that what should he do when he didn't know himself at first. What is the meaning of Rumi's quote "Lo, ...
2
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1answer
100 views

Poem that ends with “…whispers, snow!”

I recall a poem that talks about nature and the changing seasons (maybe Summer to Autumn, or Autumn to Winter) that ends with "...whispers, snow!" I've Googled the phrase with and without punctuation ...
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1answer
73 views

Who is “Luna” in Byron's “To Mary, On Receiving Her Picture”?

Here are the fourth and fifth stanzas of "To Mary, On Receiving Her Picture" by Lord Byron: Here, I behold its beauteous hue;     But where's the beam so sweetly straying, Which gave a lustre ...
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1answer
69 views

Writing/Poetry technique - Requiring reader to have prior knowledge

In the poem "The Red Wheelbarrow" by William Carlos Williams, for the reader to infer the context of the poem - why so much depends on the red wheelbarrow, the reader has to know that William Carlos ...
2
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1answer
90 views

What does “rushy bed” mean in this context?

The poem 'The Song of the Reed' by Rumi includes the lines: Hearken to this Reed forlorn, Breathing, even since 'twas torn From its rushy bed, a strain Of impassioned love and pain. (From ...
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1answer
98 views

Analysis of a self-written stanza in terms of meter?

A long time ago I used to write poetry, and there was one particular stanza that has always stuck with me and seemed inherently rhythmic, but I’m not familiar with the relevant terminology and so I’m ...
2
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1answer
236 views

What Battle inspired Wilfred Owen's “Spring Offensive” poem?

Seems it was written about a military initiative in spring 1917 but was there a name for the battle itself? I can't seem to find a reference anywhere...
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2answers
115 views

What happens to Crow after communion?

In "Crow Communes", The lines following the communion - after Crow tore off a mouthful of God - describes the results of this act, in two phases. At first, Crow seems unsure of what his act might ...
2
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1answer
750 views

How did “they make them sleep all day” in A Roadside Stand?

I read the poem 'A Roadside Stand' by Robert Frost, and I have accumulated a few questions through the poem. So, I will be posting some questions from the same poem, if you can please answer my other ...

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